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Wednesday, May 16, 2007


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Where can I find the Innovative Role Playing Capitalistic Fasionistas? Does that crossing of the lines represent an actual group of people or perhaps only a single person? Maybe it's just an anecdotal statistical correlation?

The world wants to know!

some dude

I think your numbers are a little misleading here, Hamlet. Particularly, that 2:1 ratio of 'social gamers' to 'roleplayers,' and the diagram's implication that there's no mixing (or common ground) betwen these two 'circles.'

I can see that you're trying to draw a distinction: Between the RP'ers who come into SL and take up (most likely) radically different bodies from the ones they occupy in the 'real world,' then act out personas/stories/lives that are significant departures from their everyday existences (aka the furs & gors you mentioned); and those who maintain that they're coming into SL as 'just themselves,' unpretentiously, to 'chat, make friends, & have a good time' (despite the obvious fact that they make just as many choices about their appearances—and those choices have clear bearing on the personas they act out—as the most exotic furs or elves or whatever).

I just can't really figure out WHY you're trying to make that distinction.

Really: aren't these just different styles of roleplay, especially here in Second Life, where you can be pretty damn sure that EVERY SINGLE 'active' player has at LEAST one alt account??

I haven't done my own studies, so I have no alternative numbers to put up against yours, but at the very least, you should have those two circles a bit closer in size, and they should DEFINITELY overlap pretty heavily.

I mean, come on: SEX HAVENS??? Nah, no RP goin on THERE...

Laetizia Coronet

I agree with Baba here. I am a fashionista, a social gamer, a builder ('innovator' is too big a word) and, for having a shop, also a capitalist (although that word is also too strong, as I am not geared towards profit maximalization).
I fall outside your chart.

As for the Universal Translator - I am a translator in Real Life... and I suspect that anything better than the Babbler won't be forthcoming for a long time. Human language is too fickle and with the advent of speech in SL it will only become harder to translate things in real time.

But if you need a translator/interpreter for an interview or survey I'd be happy to assist.


As I see my role in SL, there is no single point where I'd put myself. So make one dot for me in the joint area of innovators and roleplayers, and another dot into the social gamers.

I'd love to report a positive cashflow, but I'm not there yet, since my grid time is rather limited. So many things to see, do and create, so many people to meet - so little time.


I really like what you've done there and I think it's great that you're taking tentative steps to understand the motives people have for using Second Life.

My background is market research so I understand that what you're diagram represents isn't individuals but different attitudes to Second Life. As some of the commenters above have stated it is of course possible to fit with more than one attitude at a time, particularly if you have multiple avatars. It's really hard to represent attitudes dynamically in a venn diagram but this is a good start!

Incidentally you mention that there are some academically rigorous studies of SL in the works - do you know which academics are doing these studies?

Cyn Vandeverre

"Some Dude" -- I'm active, and I don't have an alt.

Hamlet, I like the diagram. I think you probably need at least 3-D to approach the overlaps you really have here, though! (I'm a capitalist RP fashionista, I suppose. Would love to get up to "innovator" eventually....)

Jaymin Carthage

Given the amount of time I spend in the IBM Sandbox I guess I'm an innovator. But I also worked for several years in Machine Translation. Unfortunately there is no order-of-magnitude improvement around the corner. Your average out-of-the-box MT run at about 70% accuracy. Grammatically perfect text (yeah right) can bump that up by about 10% and a very good domain dictionary (e.g. it knows what "noob" is) can bump it up another 10%. So even if you got your conversantionalists to talk completely correctly and persuaded the free translation many of these use to add in all the SL lingo terms, you would only be at 90% accuracy.
"Only 90%? Isn't that pretty good." You might think so. Untill you, say, took the above text and replaced one word in 10 randomly...
Now what would be interesting is if someone converted sign language into pictograms and we started conversing with blinking lights...

Ivy Norsk

I'm just another roleplaying fashionista social gamer, who hopes to become a capitalist, noting that I'm not on the diagram. Just put up a poll somewhere; I'm sure people would have fun taking it.

Hamlet Au

> Just put up a poll somewhere; I'm sure
> people would have fun taking it.

That's a great idea, Ivy!

Remember, I say: "I further define the categories here by activity, i.e., the type of interaction each Resident engages in most."

Brenda Archer

By this chart I'd get categorized as a social gamer, since I spend a ton of time there. But I also identify as a Gorean, in fact I'm a liberal version of a lifestyler. (Yes, I think I can hold up that claim in court, *smiles*. Which level of Knowledge matters most?)

I think many role-play Goreans in SL either spend a significant amount of time "out of character" or are casual roleplayers who participate in SL only. Unlike some old-timers, I don't see anything wrong with this, IF it is acknowledged for what it is. The newcomers balance the tendency to get rigid and set in our ways.

It would not surprise me if, in the roleplay communities, part-time roleplayers outnumber the full immersionists by a considerable margin, or at least are a respectable minority. After all, Second Life is full of lots of interesting things to do besides stay at home.

So I too would hope for a version of the diagram that shows potential overlap between social gamers and roleplayers.


And, of course, some of us capitalists first came to SL for the social networking and that still forms a big part of our time here :-)

Hamlet Au

> Incidentally you mention that there are some
academically rigorous studies of SL in the works do you know which academics are doing these
> studies?

My friend Aleks is doing one:


I've gotten word of several more, but I'd have to dig through my e-mail archive. :)


Thanks Hamlet, I've checked out Aleks blog, looks great (also love her Guardian Gamesblog posts too).

When you find the others in your archive let me know.

I'm guessing some of the Terra nova contributors are researching 2nd Life, but it's hard to tell who!

I've just re-started my blog where I hope to post my own research findings on VWs (WoW, 2nd Life, LOTRO) with a view to getting UK businesses more interested.

Nobody Fugazi

so, innovators can't be social gamers and vice versa? I'd draw that Venn differently, myself.


Well, at least this makes *slightly* more sense than Gwyneth's 99% "Augmentists" and 1% "Immersionists"

Static Schultz

Personally, I think everyone is getting too nearsighted in their perspectives of the SL culture. Just because you are a roleplayer and all your friends are roleplayers doesn't mean the majority of people in SL are roleplayers. I trust Hamlet's viewpoint on this because from what I understand, he's not so fully immersed in a subculture that it's blinding him.

One thing to consider with the terms "Social Gamer" and "Roleplayer" is that it is understood that roleplayers do a fair amount of social gaming in their time in SL. Roleplaying IS social gaming, just a more focused version of it. And, honestly, SL is a social network. You can't be a part of the world without having some social interaction. You may minimize or maximize on the interaction, but I'm not sure this chart actually addresses that. Rather, it addresses what avatars spend most of their time doing; what they EMPHASIZE in their Second Life experience.

To summarize, I think the separate distinction between Social Gamers and Roleplayers is a good one. That space in between those circles is a valuable one to have, as there is definitely a group of people in SL who don't emphasize 'hanging out' or 'talking' as their first priority on login (I think a majority of the Innovators and a good portion of dedicated Capitalists are of this persuasion: either introverted creative types or focused money-makers.)

That being said, if I were to categorize myself, I'd be in that orangy area of Innovative Capitalist Fashionistas. Although that's generalizing (and yes, maybe excluding some details of my SL activities) I'm ok with that. I cannot expect a survey to sum up my existence perfectly. That was never its goal.

Susan Reynolds

In world, Tynan Clary has a Capitalist mindset and is a wannabe Innovator, limited now to moving hot-tubs with one hand & figuring out SL TV. In the meantime she's stuck with being a surprisingly obsessed Fashionista who meets RL people for drinks & events @ various SL spots - so could also be an unintentional Social Gamer who dislikes being tagged as one.

As always - the woman is hard to pin down, but both of us like your attempt to define groups and talk about theories.

It seems sometimes that the reason we come to SL - in my case the twitterers sucked me in - change after we experience the metaverse. That would be an interesting progression to track. I see interviews and multiple Social Psychology Doctoral papers in the future.

Pix Paz

A category I think you missed is the "tourists" or "explorers". People who spend most of their SL time alone traveling for / collecting new experiences.

Hamlet Au

I think you're right!

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